Monday, July 19, 2004

The very first rumor about a new Superman movie to not make me break out into a cold sweat hit the internet this weekend. 
Apparently Bryan Singer (director of The Usual Suspects, X-Men 1 and X-Men 2) has signed on to develop the new Superman movie from Warner Bros..  Following McG (Charlie's Angels 1 and 2) being onboard twice to direct, and Brett Ratner (Rush Hour 1-15) being the other director previously affiliated with the movie, it appears Warner Bros. (who owns DC Comics, and thusly, Superman) is trying to follow the Marvel Comics path to success.  By stealing Marvel's directors.  Apparently WB has no idea how to handle the material, so they'll take the position of lifting Marvel's talent.  Real original, guys... 
Much has been made over the past two years over a JJ Abrahms (sp?) script which detailed Clark's adolescence and first appearance as Superman, etc...  and riffed on The Death of Superman.  The script also eliminated Superman's additional moniker "Last Son of Krypton" by, for some reason, keeping Krypton alive and well instead of blowing the planet up and giving Superman a large part of the basis for his character (ever wonder why he's so hell-bent on trying to save all of us puny earthlings?).  The JJ script was written after the success of Matrix 1, and was part of planned trilogy of Superman movies in which Superman saves Earth and Krypton from Brendan Frasier.
The JJ script was read by AICN's Moriarty, detailed in Moriarty's review, and sounded like a decent sci-fi script, but had absolutely nothing to do with Superman.  WB freaked out as the leaking and subsequent panning of the script became what some might estimate to be the single largest scandal ever to hit AICN.  Basically, nobody but dumb 'ol Harry liked the script (who will like anything, as long as he continues to get access), and the WB almost did a mercy kill on the project.  Only that didn't happen, most likely due to Hollywood politics.  
(Keep in mind, when JJ wrote the script to his version of Superman in 2002, his pet project had been ABC's Alias, a criticially touted program which appeared to be a show people liked, and with a growing audience.  In Summer 2004, most people aren't sure if the show is still on the air).

Well, DC and WB kept kicking the development of that script around until this week.  For the past year or so, the script has been under McG.  The problem was:  McG's sophomore effort with Charlie's Angels 2 was a disaster, critically and financially.  And somebody at the WB didn't want to hand this guy the $200 million he was asking for to make the movie on a script nobody seemed to like.  Plus, McG wanted NYC as Metropolis, and WB is, for some reason, hell bent on Sydney, Australia.  NYC was too expensive, the WB said.
Apparently, nobody is quite sure what the new movie would be like or about, or what Singer has in mind.  Except that some genius at WB noticed that they've been running a show called "Smallville" over on their TV network.  Apparently this show already tells how and where Superman came from.   The rumor mill is churning that this movie takes place after the initial appearance of Superman, and, possibly, long after he first appears.  This gives Smallville some breathing space and gives fans of the first Superman movies some comfort zone.
AICN seems to believe the movie is going to pick up where Superman IV left off.  Or possibly Superman II.  (I'd prefer the continuation of John Cryer's character from Superman IV blown out into his own series of movies).  I don't know.
All I know is:  starting over with a new script and director at this point can't be all bad.  And Bryan Singer has handily directed the first two X-Men movies, so you get a fairly good idea of how seriously he'll take the material. 
But Singer's attachment to Superman puts immediate development of X-Men 3 in serious jeopardy.  The X-Men cast seems to insist on having Singer as a director, and many may not return without Singer at the helm.  Personally, I wanted to see Phoenix on film, but I'll take Superman first, any day.
With Batman Begins set to hit next year (the Christopher Nolan directed Batman origin flick), could be a good year for DC.
Except:  another rumor hit this week that Jack Black has optioned The Green Lantern franchise and wants to make a wacky Green Lantern movie.  Of all the DC characters, Green Lantern is probably the least inherently funny, but apparently Jack Black wants to do a movie like The Mask, and WB wants to be in bed with him.  
One step forward, two steps back.
Now I'm just waiting for Beyonce Knowles to begin developing Wonder Woman and Tom Green to get Hawkman.  Then I can officially say that WB tries to ruin all that is fair and good.
Check out the story

Here's the story from

Trading allegiances for at least one film,
Variety reports that on Friday, X-Men director Bryan Singer signed with Warner Brothers to both develop and direct the Superman film.
According to the report, Singer will work with Michael Dogherty and Dan Harris to develop the film, which is slated to begin production in late 2004 in Australia. The deal with Warner Brothers makes it look unlikely that Singer will return to direct X-Men 3. The other project that Singer was reportedly set to develop and direct, a remake of Logan’s Run may still be on the table, though the trade reported the film may fall now to Constantine director Francis Lawrence.
The studio has also shelved JJ Abrams’ version of the script.
Prior to Singer, Charlie’s Angels director McG was attached to the film, though he left the picture after a disagreement with the studio over location and budget.
Variety also reports that Singer will bring a new take to the franchise for the film, most likely scrapping the original treatment’s focus on Superman’s battle with Luthor, and a mysterious visitor from Krypton who has come to earth to hunt Superman.   (League editor's note:  This was Brendan Frasier playing Superman's evil cousin who was coming to Earth to kill Superman so he couldn't return to Krypton to fulfill some prophecy about Superman saving Krypton.  because brendan Frasier had taken control of Krypton or something...)
Singer told Variety: "My interest in Superman dates back many, many years," Singer said. "In fact, it was the Richard Donner classic film that was my day-to-day inspiration in shaping the X-Men universe for the screen. I feel that Superman has been late in his return and it is time for him to fly again."

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